The real reason that we believe in any public performance—be it that of some well-known star or our own friends and loved ones—is that we are all, to one extent or another, actors on a stage.
It’s not too far from the mark to say that many of us have come to believe that being a good performer in life is somehow the same as fulfilling the purpose of life. Here’s the strange logic behind the self-created misery that follows it:
For each successful “performance” we pull off around others or within ourselves, it feels as if we’ve won, for the moment, what we’ve imagined will make us whole and happy—but the drawback here should be self-evident. Not only is it wearisome to walk around having to juggle the masks one needs to wear, but no one knows better than the actor that he or she is not the same as the character being played.
Conflict mounts between the role we are playing and what is real within us until the inevitable collapse onstage. In fact, there’s really only one reason we ever “let loose” and outwardly express any negative emotion: it’s because we can no longer maintain our role of being cool, calm, and in control. In other words, the mask has come off!
In today’s world it is commonly accepted that social masks serve the purpose of the one who wears them. But this is not true, as evidenced by the pain in the lives of those who believe that putting on a loving or fearless face is the same as having realized those same qualities. The true purpose of any mask, whether that of others or our own, is to cover up the pain that hides behind it.
The first step in uncovering any lost treasure, whether that of sunken gold or to realize one’s true purpose in life, is to remove the overburden, the accumulated debris that conceals it. Which brings us to this one last thought for those who hope to see the face of the immortal Self: it is spiritually impossible to hide and see at the same time.
Our need to change—to be made new—is constant; however, so is our resistance to change. The former is inseparable from the freedom it heralds, while the latter ensures the continuation of patterns that imprison the soul. Choose the latter and living becomes dying, but choose the former and see how dying leads to life.
The great journey leading to the immortal Self does not begin with fact but in faith untested. It is the journey of faith alone that reveals the fact of the Divine, much as a flower proves the unseen seed from which it springs into the light . . .
When the soul cries out to spirit to carry her to a new world beyond the boundaries of this earthly domain, she is calling for the winds of faith to sweep down, fill her tattered and empty sails, and take her safely away. The wait for these winds is never too long for any soul who is both patient and persistent in purpose.
And when—as it must come to pass upon any such journey home—dark, uncharted waters begin breaking over the sloping bow of her deck and no calm anchorage is anywhere in sight—the soul, now being swept across the deep of unknown seas, must keep in her heart the remembrance of two things: she cannot know her destination, and she must surrender the helm of her vessel and agree to follow the winds that she has invoked to transport her there.